Mike Grin, Emerging and Innovave Technology Manager Northern Europe at Spirax Sarco, explains how packaged plate heat exchange technology can support industrial processes by providing increased energy eciency, carbon reducon and a reduced risk of legionella.

way, it can have a significant impact on costs.


Many industries have relied on large shell-and-tube calorifiers that use steam to heat water. These are inherently inefficient, however, and can increase the risk of legionella. Conventional shell and tube heat exchange systems have been a source of frustration, with many energy managers, maintenance engineers, and health and safety officers unaware of the full extent of these inefficiencies, or how they can be remedied. How is it possible to minimise these risks, while improving energy performance?

The legionella risk

As most estates or plant managers will know, legionella is water-borne bacteria that can grow in engineered water systems such as cooling towers, condensers, and hot and cold-water systems. Protecting against a legionella outbreak is a legal requirement for any organisation and organisations responsible for protecting the health and wellbeing of their staff and customers are under increasing pressure to eliminate the risk. Legionella bacteria are always present in a water supply, so controlling the risk is an important objective for manufacturing companies. Industrial facilities have a higher-than-average risk of legionella, because they are typically large, complex, and use significant amounts of water.

Facilities that use a calorifier could be at greater risk of legionella. Generally, it will use a heat transfer coil, in which steam is used to heat water in large quantities. While this approach is familiar to most, stored hot water can pose a legionella risk and radiate heat, which reduces efficiency. Calorifiers also take up a considerable amount of space within a plant room.

uLegionella bacteria are always present in a water supply, so controlling the risk is an important objecve for manufacturers.

Rather than remaining loyal to a storage-based system, which has a number of logistical weaknesses and cost inefficiencies, manufacturers should consider packaged plate heat exchangers as a potential way of combatting these concerns.

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MINIMISE RISK, IMPROVE PERFORMANCE An instantaneous approach to legionella

ot water is generated on a daily basis for almost every

manufacturing facility. But if it’s not delivered in a safe and efficient

A packaged plate heat exchanger is essentially a plate heat exchanger within compact housing. It is generally around a third of the size of an average calorifier. This not only saves space, but also has the ability to deliver hot water instantaneously, which eliminates the need for water to be stored in calorifiers. The result is a significantly reduced legionella risk, with potential energy savings of around 15-20 per cent a year.


Systems like these can be implemented readily, helping plant operators improve overall plant safety, reduce energy costs and usage, increase efficiency, and remain competitive in this demanding market. Furthermore, plate heat exchangers are easier to maintain and control, which helps keep the system running at optimum efficiency.

By replacing these storage tanks with instantaneous systems that use compact heat exchangers, plants can achieve energy savings of up to 20 per cent. These systems work by capturing and reusing heat, which may otherwise be wasted, to deliver a constant supply of hot water at a stable temperature. This reduces the amount of steam required, which in turn cuts fuel demand and the associated CO2 emissions. Given that a reliable and safe supply of hot water is crucial for wash-down and Clean-in- Place (CIP) processes, optimising the generation of hot water could be the best way to save money.

Any manufacturer relying on storage vessels such as calorifiers will be familiar with the need for an annual insurance inspection to ensure each vessel’s condition is compliant, its welds are secure, and pressure levels are acceptable. These inspections are vital from a safety point of view, but require the vessel to be drained and the heat transfer coil to be removed which means the calorifier is out of use for a set period of time. The plant also needs space for this procedure to take place. This is a requirement that the pre-packaged alternative simply doesn’t have.


While the packaged plate heat exchanger doesn’t eliminate the need for annual servicing entirely, its requirements are easier to manage. As with any water heater, a certain level of scaling can occur, depending on the given site’s water treatment regime, which makes it essential that an annual service is carried out on site. The servicing procedure itself is a lot simpler than servicing a calorifier. It generally involves checking the plates, which can be done by sliding them along the frame of the unit. For those more eager to take a ‘fit and forget’ approach, investing in a

manufacturer’s service contract will make annual servicing a relatively effortless routine.

Understanding exactly what can be gained by replacing a calorifier with a

uThe Spirax EasiHeat is a compact and energy ecient heat transfer soluon, that will deliver a constant supply of instantaneous hot water at a stable temperature, on demand, for a range of domesc, heang and process hot water applicaons.

packaged plate heat exchanger is important. That said, the benefits will only be fully realised if staff on site know how they need to manage the legionella risk and apply relevant legislation to their day to day duties. Before any investment in equipment is made, the first step should be ensuring that anyone tasked with operating a boiler plant or plant room has attended a legionella awareness course. Offered by specialists such as Spirax Sarco, a one-day training course can be a simple way to ensure plant operators have the same knowledge to call upon when they identify roles and responsibilities and, ultimately, apply measures to control the legionella risk. From there, the next logical step should be ensuring the heating and hot water systems on site do the same job.

By relying less heavily on storing hot water, manufacturers will be able to improve energy efficiency, cut their costs, and dramatically reduce the risk of legionella in the process. To book a place on Spirax Sarco’s Legionella Awareness course, call 01242 535211 or visit: 16 BUILDING SERVICES & ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER DECEMBER 2017 VISIT OUR WEBSITE:


against a legionella outbreak is a legal requirement for any organisaon and organisaons responsible for protecng the health and wellbeing of their sta and customers are under increasing pressure to eliminate the risk.

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